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Mars Lander Faces Slow Death

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the this-lander-will-self-destruct-in-five-months dept.

Mars 212

Riding with Robots writes "It's the beginning of the end for the Phoenix Mars Lander. As winter approaches in the Martian arctic, NASA says it's in a 'race against time and the elements' in its efforts to prolong the robotic spacecraft's life. Starting today, mission managers will begin to gradually shut the lander's systems down, hoping to conserve dwindling solar power and thereby extend the remaining systems' useful life. 'Originally scheduled to last 90 days, Phoenix has completed a fifth month of exploration in the Martian arctic. As expected, with the Martian northern hemisphere shifting from summer to fall, the lander is generating less power due to shorter days and fewer hours of sunlight reaching its solar panels. At the same time, the spacecraft requires more power to run several survival heaters that allow it to operate even as temperatures decline.'"

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NASA (5, Funny)

Sasayaki (1096761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552231)

Honestly, as an Australian, it's great to see NASA in the news for something which can't be summarised as: "It blew up".

Needs more funding IMHO.

Re:NASA (4, Funny)

Pikiwedia.net (1392595) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552243)

NASA have been far more successful with the mars rovers and Phoenix than ESA's Beagle, which probably made it to the martian surface (in burning pieces).

Re:NASA (4, Funny)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552537)

NASA may have a better record with robots, but ESA has never lost a single astronaut. Admittedly that is through lack of trying...

Re:NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25552981)

Yeah, because Australia is a colony of the UK right? So that would fall under ESA.

Re:NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25552999)

err no, since Australia doesn't fund the EU.

Re:NASA (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553019)

And we stopped being a "colony" as of Federation... 1901

Re:NASA (4, Funny)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553173)

Pfft. Anyone with security clearance over Top Secret knows that Beagle made it successfully and recorded 13 seconds of video [wikipedia.org] before being destroyed. Has NASA's probes ever found aliens? I think not.

Re:NASA (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553447)

If you believe that the Beagle 2 found aliens, then you must perforce also believe that the Beagle 2 *was* a NASA probe.

Re:NASA (0, Offtopic)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552827)

As another Australian, I would like to point out that the season name "Fall" is stupid here on Earth, as we shouldn't have to name a season after what happens in it to remember its name.

I would also like to point out that it is even sillier on Mars, as on Mars, there are no leaves to fall.

If we're going to name the seasons after their properties, I would like to suggest season names for Mars: "Red", "Redder", "Reddish" and "Reddest".

Re:NASA (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25553351)

Autumn.

From another Australian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25552829)

Don't take this guy too seriously. He may not understand that bad news is what sells. I am at times impressed with what NASA can do.

Needs more funding IMHO.

Sasayaki, please explain. In general, throwing money at something doesn't solve the problem. You are going to need a marked reason for that money as well as a budget so that the agency doesn't become bloated and self-serving.

Re:NASA (4, Insightful)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552925)

Not to go all crazy-patriot on you, but at least the US is trying. It's not easy, you know. ;)

Oooh aaahhh (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25553133)

Look at your handle... "that IT girl"
 
OOh, look, I'm a girl. AND I like computers. That means that more people will notice me when I post on slashdot and hopefully will drool all over my feet. Poser.

Re:Oooh aaahhh (4, Funny)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553337)

...Who licked the red off your candy this morning? Geez...

Re:Oooh aaahhh (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25553369)

Uranus

Re:Oooh aaahhh (1)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553469)

Look at *your* handle. "Anonymous Coward"... sounds about right.

Re:Oooh aaahhh (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553485)

Look at your handle...

My time machine worked! It's the 1990's again!

Re:NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25553097)

Wow.... i dont see your country doing too many space explorations them selfs first make sure your country can do something before dissing something that gets more funding than your country makes in a month
honestly grow up

Re:NASA (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25553453)

Nah, it doesn't need more funding, it needs more plutonium. With a RTG (radio isotope battery) they could have kept Phoenix nice and warm for an entire decade.

Well, it's been a great track record lately... (5, Insightful)

BTWR (540147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552239)

Ever since the two loses in 2000, NASA has had amazing success with Mars. We now have a fleet of spacecraft orbiting and on the surface of Mars. But the biggest kudos have to go to an all-around amazing guy, and my favorite professor during my undergrad education, Steve Squyres, who's "90 day" rovers are now toddlers on Mars.

Re:Well, it's been a great track record lately... (5, Interesting)

BTWR (540147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552263)

Hmmm, I wrote "who's" instead of "whose." Well, there's a reason I wasn't an English major as an undergrad I guess...

I still remember the day he came into class and told us about the rovers. He had literally just gotten off the plane from JPL, and asked if there were any reporters in the room (for the school paper or otherwise). He then told us that since there wouldn't be a public announcement of the MERs for another month or so, that everything he told us was "off the record." it was so cool to learn that and all the other insider-info.

Re:Well, it's been a great track record lately... (-1, Offtopic)

ACDChook (665413) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552329)

Hmmm, I wrote "who's" instead of "whose." Well, there's a reason I wasn't an English major as an undergrad I guess...

Yes, and you wrote "loses" instead of "losses". Not only were you not an English major, but I suspect you must have bribed your way in to get past your failure at high school English. :P

Re:Well, it's been a great track record lately... (-1, Offtopic)

BTWR (540147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552417)

haha, no joke - I was the "stereotypical male" - my SATs: 800 math, 470 verbal. Yup.

Re:Well, it's been a great track record lately... (1, Insightful)

ACDChook (665413) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552481)

Hahaha, yeah, I'm Australian, so those numbers mean nothing to me. Just like I'm sure getting 380 on my TEE means nothing to you. :P

Re:Well, it's been a great track record lately... (-1, Troll)

BTWR (540147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552599)

I have a date with an Australian on Sunday (she's from Melbourne - i'm from/we're in New York). I'll try to work the TEE thing in there. She'll wonder how I know about it, lol...

Re:Well, it's been a great track record lately... (1, Interesting)

ACDChook (665413) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552629)

Haha, she won't know about it - TEE is only in Western Australia. It's the HSC over the other side of the country.

Happy to help a fellow geek (5, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552675)

...with Melbourne conversation starters.
  • Don't you just hate rugby?
  • Funny October we are having. Almost as hot as February.
  • Washed your car lately? Of course not (water restrictions)
  • Sorry you are missing the Melbourne Cup? Do you like boozing up in the Flemington car park?
  • What did you think of the Grand Final? Sorry that bunch of wankers from Hawthorn won it. Thought we had seen the last of them.

Should be enough to get going. No boobytraps there. I promise.

Re:Happy to help a fellow geek (0, Offtopic)

BTWR (540147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552805)

thanks a lot guys! she also talked a lot about "netball." seems like a very cool girl. (and that accent, I love it).

Re:Happy to help a fellow geek (0, Offtopic)

Godji (957148) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552835)

What the hell? A dating success srory on Slashdot? And there I was, thinking I'd seen it all.

Re:Happy to help a fellow geek (0, Troll)

Miseph (979059) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552933)

Yes, I too hate to hear about dating success srories. I don't mind a good story, but if I read one more srory with a happy ending, I swear to the Gods that I will end all life on Earth.

Re:Happy to help a fellow geek (2, Funny)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553037)

You sure she's not a Kiwi who lives in Melbourne? There's a lot of them here. :D

Re:Happy to help a fellow geek (2, Interesting)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553323)

Netball's like basketball, but tougher - most netball players I've known had thighs that could crack walnuts.

Good luck - and wear wrist / ear protectors if you get past first base :o)

Re:Happy to help a fellow geek (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553429)

He's gotten way past first base if he needs ear protectors....

Re:Well, it's been a great track record lately... (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552685)

Hmmm, I wrote "who's" instead of "whose." Well, there's a reason I wasn't an English major as an undergrad I guess...

Don't feel so bad about it. It's rather easy to get a degree as an English major. Hell, they have a whole roll of them in the men's lavatory.

Re:Well, it's been a great track record lately... (3, Interesting)

savuporo (658486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552301)

Yes, Mars they are doing. But do you remember when the last lunar soft landing happened ?
1976, Luna-24, a successful sample return probe sent by USSR.

There is a likelyhood that the next one to land will be a Google Lunar X-Prize participant ..

Re:Well, it's been a great track record lately... (4, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552499)

Yes, Mars they are doing. But do you remember when the last lunar soft landing happened ? 1976, Luna-24, a successful sample return probe sent by USSR.

To be fair here, Luna 24 returned 170.1g of regolith. NASA on the other hand landed six 14.7 tonne probes on the Moon in the late sixties to early seventies. They deployed a total of twelve autonomous intelligent versatile exploration units, traversing a total of 97km of lunar surface, and gathered some 381.7kg of samples and returned them to Earth.

To follow that spectacular accomplishment with a few petty robot landers seems... pointless.

Re:Well, it's been a great track record lately... (3, Insightful)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552509)

But much cheaper.

Re:Well, it's been a great track record lately... (2, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552691)

Unfortunately, the Russians were unable to allocate gyros and other mechanisms for the golf-swinging arm of the robot in their design, so their funding was heavily slashed.

Re:Well, it's been a great track record lately... (5, Interesting)

savuporo (658486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552577)

So you are saying that sending robots to Shackleton crater to search for water ice, or sending prototype plants to test out ISRU technologies like cooking oxygen out of lunar regolith would be rather pointless, just because a bunch of astronauts already made some footprints there ?

I am not disputing the accomplishments of Apollo, but to say that lunar robots are pointless is naive.

By the way, looking at the launch calendars, it looks like Indo-Russian joint mission Chandrayaan II might beat GLXP to the lunar surface.

Its been sad that our closest neighbour has been basically forgotten for so long, and now with Chinese, Indians and Japanese entering the lunar exploration, things are looking up.

Re:Well, it's been a great track record lately... (1)

lpontiac (173839) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552363)

I read his book [amazon.com] . Recommended.

To adorn oneself with borrowed plumes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25552393)

Who is this "we" you're talking about? You're working for NASA/JPL, I figure?

Re:Well, it's been a great track record lately... (2, Funny)

kungfugleek (1314949) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553339)

We now have a fleet of spacecraft orbiting and on the surface of Mars...

Makes me wonder if anyone on Mars has welcomed their new robotic earthling overlords...

Re:Well, it's been a great track record lately... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553451)

Those little rovers are the closest thing to life that sterile rock has ever known.

And no comments - so... (0, Redundant)

Mr0bvious (968303) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552241)

So no one cares?

Don't forget your masks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25552281)

It will be reactivated to observe the carnival season.

Why heaters? (4, Interesting)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552287)

So honest question for all you rocket scientists out there: Why are heaters needed? Which parts of the spacecraft (electronics?) need to be above a certain temperature to operate? Is it possible to let the lander "freeze" and then revive it, or if not what components are sensitive to this?

Rich.

Re:Why heaters? (0)

guacamole (24270) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552321)

Just a wild guess, probably the mechanical parts. (oiling, etc)

Re:Why heaters? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25552581)

I don't think they use oil... in the past they used WS2 (tungstendissulfide), It is a powder that sticks to metal. but hey... IANARS

Re:Why heaters? (5, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552327)

So honest question for all you rocket scientists out there: Why are heaters needed? Which parts of the spacecraft (electronics?) need to be above a certain temperature to operate? Is it possible to let the lander "freeze" and then revive it, or if not what components are sensitive to this?

Rich.

One issue is that solder joints between components can break if they are cooled down too much. Batteries and capacitors can fail if liquids inside them freeze and crystalise. While I think there is a chance that the lander will come back up next summer but the likelyhood of this is pretty slim IMHO.

Re:Why heaters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25552331)

Batteries, you freeze 'em they burst

Re:Why heaters? (5, Informative)

jm1234567890 (888822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552339)

From the article

The heaters serve the purpose of keeping the electronics within tested survivable limits.

Re:Why heaters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25552343)

I think batteries and capacitors with liquids inside need to be heated. Maybe some instruments with special electronics need heating, too ...

Re:Why heaters? (4, Funny)

danhuby (759002) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552345)

The heaters serve the purpose of keeping the electronics within tested survivable limits.

IANARS, I just RTFA

Re:Why heaters? (1)

oPless (63249) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552755)

But surely they 'froze' during transit?

It's pretty cold in space....

Re:Why heaters? (3, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552807)

No, the electronics are kept warm during transit.

Re:Why heaters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25552945)

except perhaps the heaters might have been powered up by the spacecraft's solar arrays, just perhaps...

Re:Why heaters? (3, Informative)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553405)

It's pretty cold in space....

Well that really depends on how near you are to a source of heat... in fact overheating is a problem in the solar system as it's difficult to get rid of the heat from the sun.

Re:Why heaters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25552475)

the heaters are needed to calm down hostile Martians, along with some hookers and a pin up.

Re:Why heaters? (2, Interesting)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552867)

Can't speak for this exactly but a friend of mine has a vapo-chill unit on one of his PC's and he managed to get the temps so low on the cpu that it stopped working.

Re:Why heaters? (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553079)

I'm not surprised - it's why they have operating temperatures specified as a LOW and high.

Re:Why heaters? (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552873)

It's the mechanical moving parts as well as the batteries and other delicate systems. Problem is these parts are larger than the rovers that simply use hot radiation pellets of plutonium dioxide to do the heating for them.

They CAN shut it all down, park the moving parts and let it sit dormant for all winter, but when you shut a system down there is a good chance that when you fire it up in the spring that it will not fire up. Blown dust cakes into an armature hinge point and now it can no longer move.

When the lander dies on Mars... (2, Funny)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552289)

...can we then assume that since something _died_ on Mars that there was once something _living_ on Mars?

It's official. Netcraft now confirms: (1)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552333)

The Mars lander is dying.

Procreation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25552357)

If the send 2 let they procreate freely and populate Mars. I hope they were of diffent genders.

so they want to send a human to Mars (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25552369)

They want to send a human to Mars and get him back home, but they can not yet keep a robot alive?

Re:so they want to send a human to Mars (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552881)

Presumably they'd send the human with more than a 2kg box of supplies.

what I do not understand. (3, Insightful)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552371)

here's what I do not understand.

so no sunlight = no power. the lander dies.

but in the next season, assuming it has not been buried in dust it will then get power again from the solar array, so what then? surely some basic SW should be functional as the power rises over a certain point. and it does not need a huge amount of power to transmit basic telemetry like temperature, light, perhaps the odd photo in low res broadcast at low power.

with all the research and development that went into the thing, I do not see why one season should kill it.

however, I recognize I am not an expert and the people who write the articles presumably are, so what have I missed?

corrosion in the environment?
batteries that cannot survive being fully discharged?
lander cannot run on solar alone?

anyhow, kudos to NASA for lasting well beyond the tables life span in the first place.

Re:what I do not understand. (4, Informative)

u38cg (607297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552453)

Metal parts can potentially crack, any components with liquids in them (batteries, capacitors, etc) can freeze and split. Certainly they will be keeping their fingers crossed that it might come back to life next year, but the odds are low.

Re:what I do not understand. (5, Interesting)

Dr.M0rph3us (1256296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552765)

What I'd like to see is the development of cold-resistant electronics. Can we use solid capacitors and batteries for that purpose?

Then the power-draining heaters won't be needed anymore and the power can be routed to more useful instruments (or the probes can be lighter, with lower launch costs).

Re:what I do not understand. (2, Insightful)

vbraga (228124) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552863)

Metal parts, solder joints must also be taken in account.

I think it's actually possible to build a spacecraft resistant to this temperature. But testing over a wider temperature range and getting it build to this spec would be expensive as hell.

(I'm not a native English speaker, so, be kind pointing mistakes =))

Re:what I do not understand. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25553457)

We probably could, but this goes back to the entire part where it was only designed to last about 90 days or so, and to minimize costs.

Re:what I do not understand. (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552549)

The lander was designed to last 90 days. It was not designed to survive Martian winter. This is completely uncharted territory.

Did you read the article?

Re:what I do not understand. (2, Funny)

phillous (1160303) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552775)

you must be new here?

Re:what I do not understand. (1)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553139)

Uncharted territory is what it was designed to explore! Nay-sayers go home!

Re:what I do not understand. (5, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552565)

see this is why NASA is putting robots on mars and you aren't. try freezing your dick to minus -225 and see if it's still functional next season.

ok sorry i'm being a little harsh there it's been a long day. solder will crack and oils will freeze and expand busting caps etc. that's why the lander might not make it through the winter.

Re:what I do not understand. (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553191)

try freezing your dick to minus -225 and see if it's still functional next season.

Or even better, do the "rose in the liquid nitrogen" trick and slap it on the table - THAT will impress the coeds.

Once.

Re:what I do not understand. (4, Informative)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552667)

You've got it. Firstly the batteries will be destroyed by the prolonged cold. The other thing is that the entire site will be cloaked in a couple of meters of CO2 ice over winter; as it accumulates on the solar panels, the weight is expected to physically snap them off.

Re:what I do not understand. (2, Insightful)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553055)

You've got it. Firstly the batteries will be destroyed by the prolonged cold. The other thing is that the entire site will be cloaked in a couple of meters of CO2 ice over winter; as it accumulates on the solar panels, the weight is expected to physically snap them off.

It would be neat if they could watch the entire process of this happening. I really wish they could build a probe that could monitor this on the ground.

Pyrotechnic unit? (2, Interesting)

omuls are tasty (1321759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552373)

It has a "pyrotechnic initiation unit"? What is that used for? Were they planning some fireworks to celebrate? Do Martians like fireworks? :)

Re:Pyrotechnic unit? (4, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552463)

Lots of space hardware uses a small pyro charge to deploy antennas and things. On a lot of microsats, the antennas are rolled up like steel tape measures, and when the pyro blows they unroll and stick out.

Re:Pyrotechnic unit? (4, Interesting)

Isao (153092) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552817)

Some amateur satellites actually USE steel tape-measure as antennas. Here's a shot of PC-SAT [navy.mil] . (Full site article [navy.mil] )

Re:Pyrotechnic unit? (1)

StuckInSyrup (745480) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552635)

Pyrotechnic initiation, otherwise known as baptism by fire.

Oblig. (4, Funny)

cosmocain (1060326) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552379)

I, for one, mourn our dead robotic overloads.

Re:Oblig. (1)

kungfugleek (1314949) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553367)

It will rise again.

obligatory matrix (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552535)

If only they sent a few baby capsules up there to supply it with the 25,000 btu's of body heat and 120 volts of power per unit.

and finally after the cameras fail... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25552613)

the native martians will appear and take it into their homes for the winter and nurse it back to health...

Re:and finally after the cameras fail... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552713)

No doubt the first manned mission will be in for a surprise. One survivor from Phoenix.

Re:and finally after the cameras fail... (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552855)

Can just see it crawling into the first mars base years from now, dragging itself along with one functional arm unit. :D

Re:and finally after the cameras fail... (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553365)

Nah - Beagle 2 is hiding, and will pop out from behind a rock and try to shag the astronaut's leg...

Nuclear batteries (4, Insightful)

joshv (13017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552833)

Why the hell aren't we putting nuclear batteries on these things?

Re:Nuclear batteries (2, Informative)

Carbon016 (1129067) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552967)

They [space.com] might [theregister.co.uk] on the successor.

Re:Nuclear batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25552971)

You said the n word.

Re:Nuclear batteries (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25553011)

The word nuclear scares the public. More specifically I live by the cape, when they launch nuclear powered missions like New Horizons Pluto mission local schools are required to keep children indoor and close their windows. This is a precaution. If the launch vehicle blows up nuclear fallout could be spread around by winds. So generally only missions where it is required because there isn't any sun light like a mission to Pluto do they use nuclear reactors.

Re:Nuclear batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25553061)

Haven't you heard? NUCLEAR! Radiation is EVIL!
More seriously, just look at the brouhaha surrounding the Galileo RTG and you see why we're not using nuclear batteries - or huge satellites sent into space by Project Orion.

Re:Nuclear batteries (1)

Ummite (195748) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553147)

Nuclear can scrap electronic inside the robot. One easy plan (with budget) would be to put an nuclear "heater" / electrical generator at the base (where the robot lands) and let the robot hybernate / regenerate at the base, for winter. Next step would be a repair shop that could be remotly controlled, to do some job robots cannot do alone. This would give a lot more lifespan to those robots. But even with that, if the batteries inside the robot have a lifespan, you cannot repair / recharge them indefinitely.

any breakthrough finally ? (2)

ti-coune (837201) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552993)

Maybe it's not the right place to post this:

But I remember i was pretty excited in the days after the probe landed, checking the website everyday to see the news. I still check it once in a while.

But what was the major finding finally ?

I know they were not expectig to find life. But any indirect evidence of it would have been cool. They did find water ice, (and found it many times apparently ;-)

just a bit disappointed I guess

The Fall on Mars must be uniquely uneventful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25553029)

Said it already

Hibernation ? (0, Redundant)

redelm (54142) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553251)

Would it be feasible to put the lander into a hibernation mode and restart it next [martian] summer?

Re:Hibernation ? (1)

DiegoBravo (324012) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553313)

Sorry, it has Ubuntu inside.

Amazing discovery?? (1)

Blice (1208832) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553331)

Remember the story a little while back about them making some sort of discovery that they had to go to the President for before releasing to the public? Did we ever find out what that was..?
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